14 Best Restaurants in Tuscaloosa, AL 2023

If you’re in search of the best restaurants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, then look no further. Tuscaloosa is a town chock full of delightful dining options and in this list, you’ll find 14 of the top offerings for every occasion.

Whether it’s breakfast, a casual lunch, or a chic dinner outing you’re interested in, you’ll find it all here. We’ve scoured the web, read numerous reviews, and even tried some of these dishes in person.

Many of these restaurants are award-winning and have been featured by trusted sources such as Southern Living magazine. If you’re getting hungry and ready to discover a new favorite dish, keep reading for our list of the 14 best restaurants in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Breakfast and Brunch

1. The Historic Waysider Restaurant

$ | (205) 345-8239 | WEBSITE

Best Restaurants in Tuscaloosa, AL

Considered a long-standing Tuscaloosa institution, “The Waysider,” as locals call it, was a regular choice for the legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant. If you’re lucky, you can grab a spot in his favorite corner seat.

You’ll want to come hungry and ready to enjoy a hearty serving of Southern staples such as homemade biscuits and country ham. On football game days, you can even get some elephant-shaped pancakes.



2. FIVE Bar Tuscaloosa

$$ | (205) 345-6089 | WEBSITE


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FIVE Bar Tuscaloosa is appropriately named to highlight its simple style, as it only offers five menu items per mealtime. As its website states, “when you only have five entrées, they had better be good.” While they offer a popular made-from-scratch dinner fare, it’s the Sunday jazzy brunch that’s a standout experience.

Don’t miss their chicken and waffles that you can pair with a boozy build-your-own Bloody Mary all while enjoying the live music. Before you head out, stop by the FIVE Java shop right next door and grab a warm drink for the road.



3. Brick & Spoon

$$ | (205) 345-5551 | WEBSITE


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Described on its website as an “upscale take on breakfast, brunch, and lunch,” Brick & Spoon is the place to go for a hearty, delicious, Instagramable meal.

Considered a good choice for the Cajun and Creole flair, they’re best known for their sweet treats, such as the beignets and bananas foster french toast. You also can’t beat their build your own Bloody Mary menu that lets you choose up to 5 veggies per drink.



4. Rama Jama’s

$ | (205) 737-7524 | WEBSITE

Best Restaurant in Tuscaloosa, AL

Rama Jama’s is old-school southern breakfast at its best. It’s where crispy shredded hashbrowns meet country ham and where biscuits are served with a side of grits or homestyle gravy all day long.

Located just steps away from Bryant Denny Stadium, it’s a mainstay for every tried and true Alabama football fan or those who just want a glimpse at what it’s like to be one.



Laid Back Meals

5. Avenue Pub

$$ | (205) 759-4900 | WEBSITE


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More than your average bar and grill, Avenue Pub offers elevated versions of Southern classics such as a fried green tomato BLT, and is considered to have one of the best bacon cheeseburgers in town.

Laid back but with a touch of class, it’s a dependable go-to for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Their comfort food is made in-house, with many of the ingredients coming from local farms.



6. Taco Casa

$ | (205) 345-0751 | WEBSITE


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Like many of the popular restaurants in T-town, Taco Casa has roots that run deep in University of Alabama’s football history. One of Paul “Bear” Bryant’s punters, Rod Wilkins, opened the original Taco Casa nearly 50 years ago.

He’d missed the tex-mex staples of his hometown while living in Tuscaloosa and decided to open a restaurant that would provide just that. Today, it’s a popular go-to for University of Alabama students and alumni alike. Everyone comes back time and again for the affordable and delicious tacos, burritos, and sopapillas.



7. Heat Pizza Bar

$$ | (205) 632-3282 | WEBSITE


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Since 2015, Heat Pizza Bar has been a popular spot for artisan pizzas and signature cocktails. With its prime location across from Government Plaza, and an outdoor patio that faces the city’s downtown, Heat is the perfect spot for an early evening meal or late night filler-up.

Offering vegetarian and gluten free menu options, Heat is a perfect spot for friends and families alike to meet, eat, and drink. Don’t miss their affordable daily specials if you’re looking for a good deal.



8. City Café

$$ | 205-758-9171 | WEBSITE

Tuscaloosa, ALBest Restaurants

It’s always a good sign when ESPN’s food show “Taste of The Town” comes for a visit, and this noteworthy event took place just a few years ago at City Café.

During the visit, they highlighted a variety of the Southern staples the City Café has to offer, such as black-eyed peas and fried chicken livers smothered in gravy and onions.

A downtown mainstay since 1931, City Café is located just across the Black Warrior river, on the north side of town. A popular spot for lunch, you may experience a line to get in, but it’s worth the wait.



Can’t Miss Bar-B-Que

9. Archibald’s BBQ

$ | (205) 331-4858 | WEBSITE

Tuscaloosa, ALBest Restaurant

Tuscaloosa, like many Southern cities, is known to have great barbecue and Archibald’s will live up to the expectations of even the most distinguished barbecue aficionados.

This nationally recognized restaurant has been serving its famous hickory-smoked ribs from a humble cinder-block building since 1962 and was selected as the #1 place to visit in the South’s Most Legendary Barbecue Joints 2021 by Southern Living.

Today, the third generation of Archibald’s keeps the dream alive, sharing their renowned BBQ and Alabama hospitality with their dedicated fans.



10. Dreamland Bar-B-Que

$$ | (205) 758-8135 | WEBSITE


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Dreamland has locations all over the South, but the one in Tuscaloosa is where it all started. Their flagship restaurant was opened in 1958 by John “Big Daddy” Bishop and it quickly became a popular destination, especially for Alabama coaches who liked to bring in recruits.

Its dark and cozy vibe is personified by the license plates and football memorabilia covering the walls. Dreamland is best known for its variety of tasty sauces that you can pour over its hickory-smoked meats or a slab of ribs. Finish it all off with their “best in town, hands down” banana pudding.



Upscale Dining

11. DePalma’s Italian Café

$$ | (205) 759-1879 | WEBSITE

Restaurants in Tuscaloosa, AL

With its cozy and welcoming atmosphere and delicious Italian food, DePalma’s Italian Café is the ideal location for celebrating special family events or intimate moments with loved ones.

The menu features all the Italian specials you’d expect, such as lasagna and veal marsala, while also offering unique specials like the gorgonzola filet and pine-nut crusted salmon. It’s known to be a popular choice for the locals, and they don’t take reservations, so come prepared to stay awhile, and enjoy a glass of wine while you wait.



12. Chuck’s Fish

$$$ | (205) 248-9370 | WEBSITE


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Chuck Morgan grew up in Alabama and graduated from the University of Alabama. He is best known for his career as a civil rights attorney and for a speech he gave about the tragic bombing of Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church.

Chuck’s Fish was opened by his son in 2005 and is named in his honor. A favorite of Alabama football head coach Nick Saban, this upscale seafood restaurant features an award-winning sushi bar and a fresh selection of fish and shrimp, all straight from the Gulf of Mexico.



13. Evangeline’s

$$$ | (205) 752-0830 | WEBSITE


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Come for the cozy yet upscale atmosphere and stay for the delicious menu offerings. At Evangeline’s, expect fine dining with numerous surf and turf options that are all prepared fresh to order.

Locally sourced produce and a variety of menu options will have you struggling to choose between the prosciutto and peach flatbread and the scallop fettuccine. A romantic, secluded dining option, it’s the perfect date night offering.



14. River

$$$ | (205) 632-3801 | WEBSITE

Restaurant in Tuscaloosa, AL

Shrimp & Grits is considered a must-have for every good Southern restaurant worth its salt, and this dish doesn’t disappoint at River.

Best described as a modern-rustic setting that oozes Southern charm, River is aptly named, as it sits on the banks of the Black Warrior River. The back porch seating overlooking the water shouldn’t be missed and the menu options are sure to please a wide variety of tastes.




While Tuscaloosa, Alabama may be best known as the home of the University of Alabama, it’s also a great destination for delicious food and drinks.

If you’re coming to attend a football game or just want to check out a popular college town, then this list of the best restaurants in Tuscaloosa will ensure you’re well-fed along the way.

Best Restaurants in Tuscaloosa

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About Restaurant Observer

Restaurant Observer is the ultimate go-to destination on the web when looking for nothing but fantastic places to genuinely enjoy food across the United States. Inspired by the saying when there’s good food, there’s a good life, Birch Restaurant starts the food blog to scout the best food places across the country.